Lots to be thankful for in southwest Minnesota

Thanksgiving Day is just a day away. Like others across the nation, soon we’ll gather around tables throughout southwest Minnesota to eat turkey and mashed potatoes until we are full. Hopefully, we all can avoid politics for a few hours and just enjoy being with our families and friends. We’ll watch football and go shopping.

Before taking that after dinner nap, it might be a good time to reflect what we have to be thankful for here in southwest Minnesota.

By now the crops should be harvested. Some of us got our deer and ice fishing is just around the corner.

While we contemplate how to renovate the infrastructure at our schools, not a day goes by that we are reminded of the high quality education that is offered to students. And our prep athletes continue to win games and championships with class.

Major crime is at a minimum. We can safely walk our streets and parks. The Red Baron Arena now offers more than hockey with trade shows and other entertaining events.

Most of us have jobs. The recent announcement of South Korean company CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ) buying 80 percent of Schwan’s leaves many of us concerned about the future. But it could lead to bigger things for the company and its workers.

Meanwhile, the tru Shrimp company held a grand opening of its Balaton Bay Reef last summer and is looking forward to constructing the Luverne Bay Harbor complex next spring.

Soon shoppers will have one more option. Another grocery store is opening up in Marshall in a few weeks.

A recent study concluded that Southwest Minnesota State University generates $173.1 million in economic impact per year and supports 1,421 jobs. That same study said Minnesota West Community and Technical College contributes $128.6 million a year to the Minnesota economy and supports 1,140 jobs.

And even with all that economic development we still can enjoy that rural lifestyle.

Yes, we do have a lot to be thankful for.